Saturday, December 4, 2010

Pabst Blue Ribbon and The Brothers Metropoulos

I'm not sure I can think of a job that would be more fun! Buying PBR and all of it's iconic brands, trying to rebuild them, the Metropoulos brothers have a challenging and interesting task ahead of them. From what I've been reading, they are on the right track...

Meet the New Owners of Pabst Blue Ribbon: The Brothers Metropoulos - Deal Journal - WSJ

Metropoulos Buys Pabst Brewing Company

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Warren Buffett Wants the Government to raise his taxes

I find it interesting how Warren Buffet thinks the government should raise taxes for the wealthy. He calls out that he, as one of America's wealthy, has it better than he ever did, and that it's unfair he pays proportionally less than his secretary in taxes. This raises quite the conundrum from a Libertarian perspective. Of course, I tend to dislike taxes for anyone. However, Mr. Buffet makes a good point here. Interestingly enough, he also says that taxes should be lowered for the middle class. Check out this video from the WSJ Deal Journal.

Watch Warren Buffett Say ‘Raise My Taxes’ - Deal Journal - WSJ

Monday, November 22, 2010

Promote Socially - Get Your Add This Button

This is a useful code for generating more social buzz to your blog or website. I just added it to mine!

AddThis - Get Your Button

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How to Write a Business Plan for a Retail Business

This article interests me as my wife and I are beginning to build upon her recent success in cooking with her small cooking line of products for "Hawliewood Kitchen".

How to Write a Business Plan for a Retail Business

Thursday, October 14, 2010

iPhone vs. Android: We all Win

I love the below article, but not for the reason you're thinking. Although I am an avid Google user, and I like my Droid phone, I don't hate Apple or the iPhone. I own several iPods and plan on buying an Apple for my next notebook. However, I hate any market where one company dominates as much as Apple has been dominating the phone market. I want to see it more competitive. With Android growing, we will have an increasingly more competitive phone market. This will ultimately benefit consumers like me with lower pricing and better service. Aside from Android's market share growing on its own merit (and AT&T's horribly expensive and terrible network coverage), articles like this promote the great things that the Android platform is now able to provide. Keep growing, Android, and bring down those prices for all of us!

the truth about ditching the iphone for android: Tech Ticker, Yahoo! Finance

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Accenture/Facebook Spending Money to Empower the Less Fortunate

What a great concept! Good job Facebook and Accenture. I much prefer this 'empowering of people' idea to the basic giving of aid that we've been doing for decades. Just like the old proverb says "give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime". While we're at it, maybe we should employ this concept domestically. Instead of giving people money to get by, as in our welfare system, we should be empowering people to build a better life. This has such great potential to improve the financial and social well being of the world. I love it. Come on congress, I'm looking at you!

Accenture to Spend $100 Million on Skills Training

Friday, September 24, 2010

Tech Companies Go Shopping Abroad - BusinessWeek

This is an interesting article from Businessweek on M&A activity shifting overseas due to the tax situation onshore in the states. It seems to me that we are letting valuable acquisition dollars, as well as funding for smaller startups go to places with more favorable taxes. As the figures show, "$7.6 billion has gone overseas so far this year, a 168 percent increase from the same period in 2009". This is staggering to me. This makes things not only difficult for the acquired company, but also much more difficult for for the investor/acquirer.

One of the quickest, and easiest, way is to keep American investors' money in America is through tax breaks. This isn't old news. However, our government seems to just throw money at the wall to see if something sticks. Why not focus dollars at something that has proven to work? America's economy was built upon, and thrived via, the startup company and its access to capital. We have to ensure that it can get it in the future.

Tech Companies Go Shopping Abroad - BusinessWeek

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Improving the Experience

Okay, so since my Arizona Wildcats are playing Iowa tonight, I thought I'd go back and find this Greg Hansen article that I loved reading a month ago. Here's the article

It talks about the strategy side of college football, and building a football culture in Tucson. He's got a variety of great ideas to improve the fan experience from expanding tailgating hours, moving the visitor section, to marketing the Bear Down Legend. Mike Stoops is building a great program. But let's face it, we're not going to be able to generate the kind of football culture that has blossomed in the south or Midwest. However, that doesn't mean we have a lot to improve upon in the desert. I think if our athletic department took some of these ideas to heart, it would make a big difference. Bear Down!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Groupon to Require Companies to Honor Gift Certificates for Five Years

Here's a great example of a company enacting policies to protect their customers. What started out as a problem has turned into a big positive for them. If their restaurant vendors don't honor their gift certificates for a full 5 years, then Groupon will refund it. I really like the customer-centric focus that Groupon displays here. I've never used this site, but this makes me want the try them out.

Groupon to Require Companies to Honor Gift Certificates for Five Years

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Woot : One Day, One Deal (SM)

Here's a cool site. They have 1 day sales of all sorts of stuff. There can be great prices on electronics, tools, outdoor equipment, etc. Just make sure you're not buying on impulse and that it's really something you "need".

Woot : One Day, One Deal (SM)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bank of America will cut mortgage loan amount for underwater homes -

It's about time one of these banks got smart and started doing something to protect their investments. B of A is taking action to "stop the bleeding" of declining home values amid this waive of foreclosures. They will offer principle reductions to home loans starting in about a month. Although this is a small step, I hope it will lead to larger measures taken by itself. They are starting small, limiting this option to only a few borrowers that meet their specific criteria. Although I think they need to expand this program, maybe if they can manage it effectively then they can expand it to a larger set of borrowers.

This gives me hope that maybe I should hold onto my condo for a bit longer instead of starting the short sale process. We'll see.

Bank of America will cut mortgage loan amount for underwater homes -

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Problem with the Housing Market

Here's a great article that my friend Larry sent to me from Phoenix on the state of today's housing market. It addresses the one place that the government and lenders haven't gone, but really need to go. This is in principle reduction. This is the one true way to stop the bleeding. If they can correct all the underwater loans, then people wouldn't have incentive to walk away, would be able to sell instead of foreclose, and the valuation of properties would stabilize. The stabilization of the housing market would be stimulus for buyers to get back in. Unfortunately, our government is so focused on supply-side economics that they haven't addressed the heart of the problem, which is the decline in property values. Finally, we're starting to get more press on these aspects of the housing market. Maybe that will translate into more action?

Take a look:

More owners opt to walk and leave mortgages behind

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Morality in Today's Financial Market

After a long conversation with a friend of mine about what to do with a property that we co-own, I got to thinking about a very important question in today's abysmal financial market. "Do I truly have a moral responsibility to repay the loan on our condo?"

This is a really intriguing question to me. My partner in the condo, who happens to be a banker, seems to side with fulfilling our contractual obligation to the bank as we originally agreed upon via our promissory note. I can completely understand where he's coming from. We promised to pay it, and put it on a contract. That is our obligation to that bank. We are able to make payments right now, so we should just keep doing it. It's very simple.

My point of view differs, however. Here's the problem with fulfilling our obligations:

1. We borrowed money from the bank on a property that was valued at $205,000.00 in 2006. That property is now worth around $110,000.00. Is that really fair to us? We couldn't even come up with the difference to re-fi if we wanted to do that.

2. The contracts we signed have lots of verbiage about defaulting on, and letting go of, the property. This makes it within the contract to do so.

3. Our government is paying millions upon millions to bail out banks in trouble, and to help people in real estate duress. Why shouldn't we get a break?

4. Now, times are tough, I'm struggling to make my monthly payments as it is, after a job transfer to L.A. I have this property that we can't even rent out for our monthly payment costing us hundreds of dollars a month.

My business mind is telling me to cut my losses right now via short sale instead of paying on a mortgage for a property that won't recoup its value for decades. Am I a bad person here? What IS the morally sound thing to do?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

We Need More RadioShacks

After spending 50 minutes at Best Buy yesterday, trying to find a new battery for my wife's camera, I remembered something I told myself year's ago...I hate Best Buy! It has created its success on its size and selection, but definitely not its customer service. Every time I go there I feel like I'm on a used car lot. The service reps aren't there to help you, nor are they even knowledgeable enough to do so. They are mostly there to sell you the most expensive item they carry. Yesterday when I told a young lady that I was having trouble finding the right battery, she grabbed a battery off the shelf (which was $50, by the way), basically threw it at me, and walked away. When I read through the label for compatible cameras, I realized that my camera was not listed. When I was finally able to find her again, she acted as if I was bothering her and said "all we have is what's in front of you" and continued her conversation with another employee. I then tried to get help from another gentleman, who refused to even look at me. So I decided to try and figure it out on my own. "Hey, I work for IBM", I thought. "I should be able to figure this out faster than some teanager can". So I found a similar model camera and began to open up the box to figure out what kind of battery and charger was in it. As soon as I started to open up the box, the kid who had previously ignored me suddenly looked at me and told me that I couldn't open the box. I responded with "well can you help me then?". He said, "in a minute" and then walked away. Needless to say, he never returned. Frustrated that I had been there so long, and not wanting to have to pay for parking after the 1 hour limit had elapsed, I grabbed what I though would work and checked out. Of course, I found out that it was the wrong part when I got home to test it...Did I mention I hate Best Buy?

This leads me to my next point. My favorite store to go into is Radio Shack. It's quiet and the people there genuinely try to help you. The last time I was there, I was convinced by the sales guy to buy the cheaper item as it was "all I really needed". Isn't that refreshing? My only problem with Radio Shack is that they are so small, and selection is so limited for many consumer items. I really wish they could expand into stores that offer more video games, DVDs, etc, so that I could go there for all of my needs. Settling for Best Buy sucks right now, but there really isn't much of an alternative right now. Best Buy locates in better areas, has so much stuff, and advertises much more effectively than Radio Shack. It's really a shame because I'd like to give Radio Shack all my business, and I'm sure most others would as well once they realized the world of difference. I'm crossing my fingers in the meantime (and avoiding Best Buy as much as I can).